When you’re Nicole Kidman and you’re starring on multiple HBO dramas, how do you tell them apart? With a radical hair transformation, naturally! Shortly following the announcement that the “limited” series Big Little Lies is actually not so limited and would be returning to HBO in June of this year, the show’s lead actress and producer launched herself into filming yet another HBO prestige series—The Undoing with Hugh Grant, based on the novel You Should Have Known by Hanff Korelitz—and, for her role, she traded in her blonde waves for a chest-length red perm.
The actress was spotted filming The Undoing, in which she plays a therapist on the cusp of publishing her first book when her husband goes missing, on New York’s Upper East Side this week, costumed in a burgundy trench—velvet? horsehair?—with coordinating knee-high boots. But, while relatively fresh, the hairstyle wasn’t actually an unfamiliar one for Kidman—instead, it recalled the red curls that haloed her for much of the ’90s and into the early ’00s, from her appearances on the red carpet for the Academy Awards and films like Days of Thunder to her parts on screen in Eyes Wide Shut and Moulin Rouge. She was blonde in To Die For, but that look didn’t make itself permanent till around the time of Cold Mountain and Dogville in the mid-’00s.
Kidman has been frank about the ways that the physical transformations that accompany immersing herself in a role help her get into character. For Destroyer, the recent Karyn Kusama–directed cop drama, she “ended up just never taking” off the jeans and leather jacket that her tormented character also existed in; she also wore substantial prosthetics that Jezebel described as “absurd” but maybe weren’t actually intended to be especially realistic. She did the prosthetics thing, too, for The Hours, in which she played Virginia Woolf, and has periodically gone back to red hair for various roles over the years—including for Big Little Lies, in which her hair’s more of a smooth copper than a deep red, and flat-pressed rather than curled. Compared to Destroyer, a little hair transformation is practically nothing.